September 07, 2003

Colin Clary "The Only Boy In Town"

Just because you're not strong doesn't mean you're weak. Take, for instance, Colin Clary's debut album, The Only Boy In Town. Some might say that "hey, this guy's voice is pretty soft," and they would be correct, but if they were to say "his singing is weak," they would be wrong. True, he might not win any Charles Atlas awards for vocal muscle, but let's not see that as a criticism; if the songs on The Only Boy In Town were sung by someone with a stronger set of pipes, then they just wouldn't be any good.

Let's step away from that paragraph, shall we? It's making me slightly uncomfortable, because the implication is that he's not a very good singer, and that is simply not so. While Clary's vocal range might seem a bit limited, it certainly does not affect his music. Clary's a smart guy, and it certainly seems obvious that he recognizes his own limitations. Instead of trying to make his weaknesses appear stronger, he took the opposite approach and made songs that utilize every bit of muscle he already has. There's really no need for grandstanding, for that would make him look foolish. It's better to write songs that embrace everything you have than to fake it and be obvious about it.

Really, though, how could anyone not like him? His music is a quite quiet little symphony of indiepop and folk; indeed, The Only Boy In Town is perfect music for a cold, rainy Friday night in a coffee house in the big big city. Oh, and he's got some really talented friends helping him out, too--notably Jeff Baron and Sasha Bell from Ladybug Transistor, so you know the music's gonna be soft and pastoral. He's thrown in a handy-dandy cover of "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want," and he's performed it with so much of his own natural charm that you'd swear it's his own. Heck, the boy even references The Stone Ponys in "I'm Not Saying," too! (Personally, I'm hoping he gets around to covering "Different Drum," because I think he could easily make it his own!) Clary's a master of grammatically correct indie-pop, and if you don't fall in love with the clever "Selfish Aims," "Sleep With Whomever You Want," "Just a Little One" or the heartbreaking "End of an Era," then, my friend, I feel for you.

Ah, I like Colin Clary. He's a really nice guy and he makes the music you'd expect a nice guy to make. Smart, friendly, affable, sleepy, clean, wholesome, pleasant, thoughtful, well-mannered, virginal--these are ten adjectives that describe The Only Boy In Town, and they are ten adjectives that describe Colin Clary. The man and the music are one in the same, and it's that wholesome, small-town sensibility that's gonna win over the world. Good job, sir!

--Joseph Kyle

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